July 16th 2011 United States National Guard helped Save the Maumee River! Lead by Staff Sergeant Grimm and Sergeant Michele Berkes-Adams along with a medic and 20 recruits removed large items in the Maumee River in Riverhaven, (a three mile stretch between Fort Wayne and New Haven). The U.S. Army works on green drills several times a year and had chosen to help Save Maumee! Items removed include a teddy bear, 10 tires and assorted car parts, steel drums, a sump pump, 2 children pools. Hats off to the men and women who keep us safe through cleaning up the large items that nobody else can remove without being put in harms way! Canoes were provided by Fort Wayne Outfitters/Bike Depot and Earth Adventures; two competitors working together to improve our rivers.
Here are two seperate stories from the Journal Gazette! http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20110717/LOCAL/307179893/1002/LOCAL
Troops attack Maumee trash
Fort Wayne Ten tires, two kiddie pools, a sump pump, a microwave and a doll head were among items collected by Staff Sgt. David Grimms Indiana Army National Guard team Saturday afternoon in the Maumee River.
As part of the National Guards nationwide Guard the Environment campaign, Grimms troops collected trash 40 bags worth along the river from near the Wells Street Bridge to the Thomas L. Deetz Nature Preserve in New Haven.
The cleanup crew included about 20 new enlistees in the recruitment sustainment unit, a preparatory stage before basic training and boot camp.
Sgt. Nathan King also participated in the five-hour effort, which started at the river banks near Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot on Saturday morning. He said the service project shows that were growing as a community to help the families of Fort Wayne appreciate the citys three rivers.
This is definitely one of the things the community wants to see, he said. Its unifying, for one thing.
Grimm said the river sweep also provided a valuable experience for his troops, many of whom are still learning basic skills and courtesies.
Its a way to give back to the community before the community gives back to them, he said.
The National Guard unit first heard about the volunteer opportunity when one of its members, Sgt. Michele Berkes-Adams, became involved with Save the Maumee, a local river advocacy group.
She said the city economy could benefit from cleaner rivers, especially with businesses such as the Depot promoting river recreation.
But Abigail Frost-King, Save the Maumees founder, is hesitant to declare victory. She said she encountered some obstacles as she tried to organize the cleanup.
For example, she said Fort Wayne city government refused to provide a Dumpster for easy disposal of the extracted trash because Kreager Park, the projects approximate end point, is not within city limits. She also noted the state Department of Natural Resources will provide garbage-collecting boats only twice a year.
Regardless, she praised Grimms troops for fulfilling a dirty task most workers avoid at all costs.
No one else is cleaning up the waterways, Frost-King said.
Published: July 16, 2011 3:00 a.m.
Guard recruits help clean the Maumee
If you see soldiers in canoes Saturday floating down the Maumee River, dont panic. Its not an invasion, but rather a war on trash.
They are recruits with the Indiana Army National Guard, performing a community service project under the direction of Staff Sgt. David Grimm of Detachment 1, Company A of the Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
The soldiers have not yet gone on to basic combat training, or boot camp, but are still looking to serve their community. And this weekend, thats cleaning up the Maumee River in an effort to help out the non-profit organization, Save the Maumee.
Using canoes from Fort Wayne Outfitters and other organizations, the soldiers will float down the river from Fort Wayne Outfitters, near Wells Street in downtown Fort Wayne, and heading east toward Kreiger Park, Grimm said.
Along the way, theyll pick up trash and clean up what they can, he said.
Every three months or so, Grimm takes his soldiers out to perform a green community service project such as ripping out invasive shrubberies at Allen Countys Fox Island Park.
We just feel that the community does so much for us, and its kind of like our small little token to give back, Grimm said.
In his opinion, Fort Wayne is one of the most military-friendly communities in the country and it is important for the soldiers to contribute to it, he said.
Theyve done so much for us, and were trying to help in every little way we can, he said.
OR see all our pictures from the day on Facebook HERE: By Save Maumee’s Photographer Dana Jinx